NYC subway system looks to Boston

In case you missed it, the New York City subway system is in crisis mode, and officials in the Big Apple are looking to Boston for some answers.

At the end of June, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order declaring a state of emergency, ordered a turnaround plan for the subway system, and pledged as much as $1 billion for improvements. Cuomo was responding to a rising chorus of complaints that the system was sinking into disarray, plagued by antiquated subway cars and signal systems.

A New York Times analysis on Monday documented how the problems can sometimes snowball out of control. On the busy Lexington Avenue line, crowded trains rumble into stations where passengers wait to board. It’s not uncommon for passengers to let one or two trains pass before they squeeze on. The Times analysis found the pushing and shoving to get on board results in delays up and down the line that force officials to cancel trains that could help alleviate the crowding. On average, the analysis found, 14 percent of trains are canceled because of the passenger crunch.

Joseph Lhota, the chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, has proposed an $800 million turnaround plan that borrows heavily from the MBTA playbook. It calls for removing seats from train cars to squeeze more riders in, creating a public dashboard to show passengers how the system is performing, installing more countdown clocks announcing when the next train will be arriving, and overhauling more train cars. The plan also calls for something not in the MBTA playbook — adding 2,700 more employees,

Lhota called on the state and city to split the cost of his turnaround plan, but New York Mayor Bill de Blasio is proposing his own millionaire’s tax to help support the city’s struggling subway system. His initiative would also make half-price MetroCards available to an estimated 800,000 poor residents.

“Rather than sending the bill to working families and subway and bus riders already feeling the pressure of rising fares and bad service, we are asking the wealthiest in our city to chip in a little extra to help move our transit system into the 21st Century,” de Blasio said.

Lhota said it was good to see de Blasio recognize the need for more investment in the transit system, but he said he needs $800 million now and can’t afford to wait for a long-term financial fix. De Blasio’s millionaire’s tax would require the approval of the legislature in Albany, which is not scheduled to meet again until January. Republicans also control the state Senate, which makes passage of a new tax uncertain.

BRUCE MOHL


BEACON HILL

Lawmakers earlier this year hiked their salaries and eliminated a stipend they can collect based on the distance they drive to the State House, but it turns out the stipend doesn’t end until the end of this year. So 48 lawmakers put in for the stipends, collecting a total of $67,000. (Boston Herald)

Gov. Charlie Baker, Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo tout their collegial approach before a crowd of out-of-town lawmakers attending a conference of the National Conference of State Legislatures. (Boston Herald)

A Boston Herald editorial says the state’s nurses are insane for pushing minimum staffing levels with two proposed ballot questions.

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Capping a year of debate, the Cambridge City Council is set to vote on an ordinance that would regulate short-term rentals by requiring, among other things, that hosts live in the building where the rental unit is located. (Boston Globe)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Richard Nixon’s legacy lives on through President Trump, says Lawrence S. DiCara and Eliot Usherenko. (CommonWealth)

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the city will sue the Trump administration over its plan to withhold federal money from sanctuary cities. (Time)

ELECTIONS

Newton Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren calls Gov. Charlie Baker’s ICE detainer bill “un-American.” (CommonWealth) Eva Millona and Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal say Baker’s bill would cast an unacceptably wide net for ICE. (Boston Globe)

Fundraising by the candidates running for mayor in Lawrence is raising all sorts of questions. (Eagle-Tribune)

Gloucester may skip a preliminary election in the race for mayor. (Gloucester Times)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

A luxury condo project in the Seaport District is partly financed by a US-visas-for-sale program that is supposed to help areas of Boston with high unemployment but doesn’t. (Boston Globe) CommonWealth reported on this sketchy federal program to sell US citizenship back in 2016, and it looks like nothing has changed.

MassDevelopment spends $800,000 to acquire a pawn shop targeted for redevelopment in Worcester. (MassLive)

Geoffrey and Margaret Rockwell oppose the Berkshire Museum’s plan to sell two Norman Rockwell paintings, and they are appealing to philanthropists to buy the artworks and keep them available to the public. (Boston Globe)

Fenway Park is about more than baseball — it’s also got a writers series, says George Mitrovich. (CommonWealth)

TRANSPORTATION

State officials say initial work on the Commonwealth Avenue bridge was completed three weeks ahead of schedule, allowing all traffic lanes to reopen early. (Boston Globe)

Cities are preparing for driverless cars, but they are also starting to worry that the advent of the vehicles could mean their parking revenues will dry up. (Governing)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Are wood chips a renewable fuel, like solar energy and wind power? It depends on who you ask. (Boston Globe)

Eric Wilkinson of the Environmental League of Massachusetts says the state needs to pick up the pace on developing clean energy. (CommonWealth)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

A lawsuit alleges that the UMass Lowell Police Department engaged in a scheme to hire retired Nashua, New Hampshire, police officers so they could collect pensions in both states. The suit was brought by two former UMass Lowell policemen. (Lowell Sun)

Many of the 23 Level 3 sex offenders who live in Ware rent units from another Level 3 sex offender. (Telegram & Gazette)

Two people stole wallets worth about $7,500 from a store in the Natick Mall. (Metrowest Daily News)

MEDIA

Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr says local TV news shows are losing viewers because they don’t report any news. And he’s had it with references to the golden age of local TV news: he says the only difference between then and now is that it was 90 percent crap then and now it’s 95 percent crap. Wait a minute. Maybe print news isn’t so hot, either. Both the Herald and Globe sports pages on Sunday ran home-boy columns suggesting New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Long-time WCVB-TV meteorologist Dick Albert passed away Friday from complications from pneumonia. He was 73. (Patriot Ledger)